MI: Deadline Looms For Lawmakers To Act On Marijuana

Photo Credit: Andrew Selsky

The petition to allow you to vote on whether recreational marijuana should be legalized in Michigan will go on the ballot unless the legislature acts Tuesday.

When a ballot proposal is cleared by the board of canvassers, the legislature has 40 days to decide if they want to take the measure into their own hands.

In this case, the 40 days for the recreational marijuana proposal is up Tuesday.

At question are two separate factions in the Republican party. One, largely based in the Senate, would like to approve the bill – not necessarily because they favor legalization, but rather to keep the proposal off the ballot, thereby creating a larger draw of what they fear might be more liberal-leaning or democratic-leaning voters to polls in November.

In the House, representatives seem less inclined toward that plan and most observers don’t think they have the votes.

Last week on Mackinac Island, Speaker of the House Tom Leonard gave 24 Hour News 8 his take on the possibility of a vote.

“Barring a miracle for them, this is not going to happen,” he said. “I’m personally opposed and quite frankly there is not support in the caucus right now. Certainly, if they can muster the 55 votes, I will give them a vote. I’m speaker of the House, not dictator of the House. I do not see there being support there and I think this is something that ultimately the voters are going to have to decide.

The other point of possible disagreement is timing. At least some sources believe the time stamp on the bill indicates action must be taken by both chambers by noon. The House doesn’t even go into session until 1:30 p.m.

Those in favor of legislative action think they have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Either way, the matter will be dealt with Tuesday or will appear on the ballot in November.